We are so excited to have Naturepedic as part of The Beautiful Faces of Hope™ campaign. We got to learn more about their story, meet with Barry Cik, founder of Naturepedic and explore in depth what the benefits are when we use their products.
1. What inspired you to start your company?
My background is environmental engineering, so prior to founding Naturepedic I was already familiar with toxic chemicals and their potential impact on health. Before my first grandchild was born, my wife sent me out to purchase a crib mattress, something I hadn’t done before. I was shocked and appalled by what I found. I was finding crib mattresses containing chemicals from phthalates to flame retardants that I felt should not be in a mattress. The ‘aha’ moment came when a sales associate assured me that a mattress was safe because the government would never allow harmful chemicals to be used. I think it was at that moment that Naturepedic was really born.
2. Why was it important for you to focus on this specific category of products?
Children and adults spend at least a third of their day on a mattress, while babies can spend half of their day or more sleeping and playing on a crib mattress, and. If a mattress is off gassing harmful vapors or otherwise exposing a child to questionable chemicals like flame retardants, that exposure becomes a major part of that child’s life and development. I felt I could make a positive impact by entering this category because there were no adequate regulations in place, and still aren’t, addressing chemical safety in mattresses.
3. What sets your company apart from other brands of the same category?
We design our products with health and safety in mind, constantly seeking the safest designs and materials. Our entire mattresses are certified organic to the Global Organic Textile Standard, as is our entire manufacturing facility. Our products also pass the highest levels of GREENGUARD. Through our design and material use, our mattresses are able to meet all flammability requirements without the need for chemical flame retardants, and that means we don’t sneak those questionable chemicals into surface fabrics or other barriers like some companies do. When we say no flame retardant chemicals, we mean it. At the core of our business is the question, “What is best for children?”
4. What should consumers try to avoid when purchasing these products, and what should they look for?
For crib mattresses, make sure they are waterproof. A non-waterproof crib mattress isn’t practical or safe, but avoid PFCs or vinyl. We use food grade polyethylene, which we’ve found to be the safest option available. Companies will hide their use of chemical waterproofing by not revealing their methods or implying they use a “natural” waterproofing agent, which doesn’t exist. I also recommend avoiding chemical flame retardants. If a mattress is made with polyurethane foam, it’s pretty much guaranteed to have flame retardant chemicals as polyurethane foam is highly flammable. Finally, check certifications. As organic becomes popular, manufacturers make all kinds of claims so GOTS certification ensures those claims valid.
5. What are the benefits for our body and/or the environment when we use your products?
Many people are looking to reduce their overall exposure to chemicals. Again, think how much time all of us spend in bed. A sick child or adult could potentially spend even more time there. It’s in our power to control the materials we choose to sleep upon in order to cut that chemical exposure.
Regarding the environment, all the cotton we use is certified organic. The growing and processing of non-organic cotton is responsible for some of the heaviest uses of pesticides, accounting for an estimated 16% of global pesticide use! Additionally, non-organic cotton uses many caustic chemicals in processing. By switching to organic cotton you make an immediate impact.
6. Where can consumers find your products?
In addition to our website, www.naturepedic.com, Naturepedic products are sold nationwide both in brick and mortar stores and online. To find a retailer near you, just enter your zip or postal code into our store locator function. http://www.naturepedic.com/findstore.php With over 600 retail stores nationwide and throughout Canada, you are bound to find one. If, by chance, there is no store near you, then you will be able to find us online.
7. What has been your biggest challenge? Your biggest reward?
One of the biggest challenges was designing a mattress that could meet all flammability requirements without chemical flame retardants. Additionally, for children’s products, we wanted to do that without using wool, a known allergen. That took perseverance, engineering and creativity, but we did it.
For me, the biggest reward has been building a successful business while sticking to my principles. Doing things the right way can be more expensive and more difficult. It’s rewarding to know that in the end our integrity has been recognized. We’ve won more awards for our mattresses than any other brand.
8. What is next for you and your company? Are you working on any new products?
Naturepedic continues to expand into the adult organic mattress market. In the past year we launched our EOS customizable organic mattress and continue to bring new products and designs to market.
9. Why was it important to you to participate in The Beautiful Faces of Hope campaign?
We are advocates for chemical reform, particularly regarding chemicals that impact our most vulnerable members, which include children. Our belief is to work to make a positive impact. The Beautiful Faces of Hope™ campaign is a reminder that hope is essential for change even in the most challenging situations. It’s all worth it.
10. If you could send a personal message to those who have, or are currently struggling with cancer, what would that message be?
We all serve a higher calling, even though we might not always recognize what it is. Our struggles go beyond us and impact the world in ways we might never guess.